Buffalo Peak and Surprises

On Saturday, Ann and I returned to one of our favorite nearby hiking spots – the Squaw Peak Overlook Back Trail. We had a fantastic hike there in May as the flowers on the top were incredible. This time, we started at a different location off the side of a mountain road.

A field of wildflowers on the climb up.

Our goal today was to get to the top of Buffalo Peak. In May, we made up to the base of the last steep push to the peek. However, Ann and I were so distracted by the flowers, as shown in the post from May, that we ran out of time and said we would have to come back and do it again.

The last steep stretch to Buffalo Peak. It doesn’t look too steep from this picture, but it is.

Saturday was that day.

We also hit a few unexpected surprises along the route.

First, as we were beginning the steepest section of the climb, we hit a most amazing field of TALL wildflowers. Some were as tall as me. As you could suspect, we were quite distracted by them and took lots of pictures.

Ann in the field of wildflowers
Ann caught me here trying to take a cell pic of the field

After the rigorous climb to the base of Buffalo Peak, we went over to the area that was so bedazzled with wildflowers in May and it was a totally different scene. All the flowers were gone and the only remnants were shriveled brown leaves everywhere from the plants that birthed them.

Ann stands in the field of the flower remnants. A stark contrast from May.

As Ann and I started toward the climb to the peak, a mother and daughter were ahead of us. We came to a overlook area at the beginning we took pictures of the mother and daughter and then they returned the favor.

The mother and daughter duo took off up the mountain before we did. Moments after they left, we could hear a sound of someone sliding and falling. It was the mother. Moments later they both came back down after abandoning their ascent to the peak.

Ann and I were not discouraged and we started out way up the ascent. It was steep, but not crazy hard. It was a little slippy. It didn’t help that my left shoe got caught on a very sharp rock and I fell uphill pretty hard. My camera slammed into one of the rocks. Fortunately, there was no damage to the camera. However, there was damage to my foot, my shoe, and my pride.

The rock was so sharp it totally ruined this shoe. You can see the gash where my toes are.

My pride recovered. My foot ached. My camera was still working. So we continued our climb to the top. Turns out, the climb was not a bad as we thought. Other than my clumsy fall, we did not have slippage or other issues.

Ann talking on the phone while on Buffalo Peak

On the way back down from the peak, we hit another major surprise. We saw the peak of Squaw Mountain and noticed a tiny American flag waving in the wind at the summit.

An American flag proudly waving on Squaw Mountain.

Every once in a while we could see a hiker about to finish the climb to the top of Squaw. As we were watching them, we had another big surprise.

We heard a noise that sounded like an airplane and then Ann saw a plane swoop low right in front of Squaw. I did not see it, but she pointed it out to me as it flew back over the valley. But then it turned and headed right back toward the mountains and I took the pictures below.

Honestly, from our perspective as shown in the second photo below, it looked like the plane was on a suicide mission and was going to crash into the side of the mountain.

The plane after turning around came back toward the mountains.
Yikes! May day. May day.

But no, the plane did not crash, but rather it did some amazing stunts. It flew down into the canyon between Buffalo Peak and Squaw Mountain and went out of sight. And then it came swooping back up doing twists as it climbed. And then it flew away.

Diving into the canyon
Coming out of the canyon upside down
Flipping back over and flying away

Since we spent so much time on the way up taking pictures, we decided that on the way down we wouldn’t do that. My goal was not to take any pictures at all. However, when I came across this tree, which I affectionately called a Richard Barron tree, I had to take the picture so I could send it to Richard.

Here’s a weird thing and yet another surprise on the hike. Within 30 second so of taking that picture for Richard, my phone starts ringing. I am sure you can figure this one out, it was Richard calling me. Freaky. It was freaky for two reasons: 1) I just took a picture for him and he had no idea and 2) because cell service on the trail generally did not work.

The “Richard Barron” tree

The last picture I took on the hike is also one of my favorites from the hike. It is showing the flower field with Mount Timpanogos in the background.

Two of my favorite subjects: wildflowers and Mt. Timpanogos

Ann and I have been on this trail 3 or 4 times. Each time we have hiked in this area, we have come across amazing beauty. This is certainly one of our most productive places to hike.

The good news is that there is so much more to explore in the area that we have not even seen.

Stay tuned…

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